Monday, May 28, 2007

fennel, old age, shadows

In the rain, the feathery fonds of fennel.

My friend Tristan points out a poem in the New Yorker by W. S Merwin, called Unknown Age, which makes me think that poems written in old age, or about it, deserve special attention. By coincidence I come across, just now, in an anthology of poems about dance, a poem,which also touches on age. It is by the Japanese Zen monk Ryokan:
Chanting our own poems,
Making our own verses,
Playing with a cloth ball,
Together in the fields -
Two people with one heart.

The breeze is fresh,
The moon so bright -
Let's dance until dawn
As a farewell to my old age.

Though it is a day of thick, heavy cloud, there is a wild brightenss in the light, which allows the trees to cast shadows despite the absence of sun.

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